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GOP’s Repeal and Replace Bill: Fewer Covered, Weaker protections, Higher Costs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, March 07, 2017

CONTACT: Amelia Abromaitis – Amelia.Abromaitis@seiuhcpa.org/ 215-219-4248

GOP’s Repeal and Replace Bill: Fewer Covered, Weaker protections, Higher Costs

Statement from Matthew Yarnell, President of SEIU Healthcare PA, on Congressional GOP Healthcare Bill

Harrisburg – In response to the Affordable Care Act “Repeal and Replace” bill introduced by Congressional Republicans on Monday, March 6, Matthew Yarnell, President of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, released the following statement:

“For weeks, the Republicans in Congress have been developing their so called “Repeal and Replace” bill behind closed doors. Now that we can read the bill, it is easy to understand why they would want to shield it from public scrutiny.

The Republican plan is a recipe for chaos for patients and our working families, designed to drastically cut affordable care while showering the richest Americans with millions in tax breaks. The bill is designed to do more than just repeal Obamacare. The Republican plan aims to end the Medicaid program as we know it by cutting back on the federal government’s responsibility to ensure healthcare for those who cannot afford it on their own.

By making large cuts in federal funding for Medicaid over the next 10 years, Congress will force seniors and people with disabilities to wait longer to receive long term care services. Low-income Pennsylvanians or those who, through job loss or other misfortune find themselves without insurance, will now be competing with seniors for coverage.

Not only that, eliminating Medicaid expansion would cost Pennsylvania health care providers around $3 billion in federal reimbursements, which means an estimated $4.5 billion loss to the state economy, endangering an estimated 32,000 or more jobs originally created as a result of expanding Medicaid. Pennsylvania cannot afford more economic pain, especially a self-inflicted wound like this Republican bill.

Our healthcare system needs reform, but not like this. Everyone who cares about quality, affordable care needs to make their voices heard to ensure this “repeal and replace” plan is defeated and is in turn replaced by reform that protects the health insurance our families have at prices working people can afford.

After all, that’s what the President promised us.”
Background:

According to PennLive, eliminating Medicaid expansion would cost Pennsylvania health care providers around $3 billion in federal reimbursements they receive as a result of the expansion. This means an estimated $4.5 billion loss to the state economy, endangering an estimated 32,000 or more jobs created as a result of expanding Medicaid.

Additionally, if adopted, the Republican plan would:

  • allow insurance companies to charge people with preexisting conditions more or deny them coverage altogether if they had a break in coverage for any reason;
  • eliminate the guarantee that people with preexisting conditions can get access to regular insurance without paying more, and instead requires them to get their insurance through “high-risk pools” that may provide less coverage at a higher premium;
  • raise taxes on employer paid health insurance and counts the amount an employer spends on an employee’s health insurance as taxable income;
  • cut funding for Medicaid expansion that provides health coverage to millions of low-and moderate-income people, including an additional 675,000 here in Pennsylvania;
  • give hundreds of millions in tax breaks to the rich while eliminating subsidies that make health insurance affordable, hurting 400,000 Pennsylvanians.

In addition to the 675,000 Pennsylvanians who have health insurance because of Medicaid expansion, more than 400,000 other Pennsylvania residents have coverage obtained through the Obamacare electronic marketplace, or exchange. That coverage will be out of reach if Congress takes away federal subsidies that make it affordable. They will have no choice but to get care in the emergency room, which would drive up health insurance premiums for all consumers.

The byproduct of ripping away affordable care for so many families is, according to the LA Times, is at least $346 billion in tax cuts over 10 years. Hard pressed families won’t see any tax relief, however: every dollar of the cuts in this bill goes to those making more than $200,000, or $250,000 for couples.

About SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania: SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is the state’s largest and fastest growing union of nurses and health care workers, uniting nearly 45,000 nurses, professional and technical employees, direct care workers, and service employees in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home and community-based services, and state facilities across the Commonwealth.Together, we work to protect patient care, expand access to quality health care for all, and to lives of health care workers. We accomplish these goals by organizing non-union health care workers, driving industry standards in our contracts and fighting for legislation that affects health care in our state.

 SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is affiliated with SEIU Healthcare, part of the Service Employees International Union, which represents 2.1 million working people in health care, public services and property services.

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